Halo: Combat Evolved

Game review by
Jeremy Gieske, Common Sense Media
Halo: Combat Evolved Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
This sci-fi shooter with loads of violent killing of aliens.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 51 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 172 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Violence, minor cursing exhibited in a war-like environment .


Continuous battle throughout the game. Blood and violence abound.


An ample dose of minor swear words.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game is very popular, and it's likely that your child will have access to play or at least observe this game at some point. Most of the game consists of fighting in a non-stop, science-fiction-based battle against aliens. Blood and violence abound, making it best for those 16 and up.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byA.I. March 26, 2011
This is a great game. I have a kid who loves it, and even better, i let him get this instead of black ops, hahaha. do yourself a favor parents, this is your ans... Continue reading
Adult Written byprotectivefather123 April 9, 2008

This is a great game for kids 11-12

Okay, i am a very protective father. I let my son by the first halo, and i watched him play, and it was not as bad as people say it is. I hear my friends saying... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old January 3, 2011

It's Not THAT Violent...

Seriously, Halo Isn't that violent. Do your research. There Is more violent games out there so stop saying It's so bloody. If I hit a guy with a energ... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byChristopher Douthit March 19, 2020

A really good game.

I just got this game on PC and it was my first Halo game. It is a really good game and I have enjoyed it quite a bit so far. It has an intriguing and original s... Continue reading

What's it about?

HALO takes place in the future, where humans are fighting a losing battle against the technologically superior \"covenant,\" a group of alien beings driven by radical religious beliefs to destroy all humans. To make things worse, it appears they have found a new weapon of incredible power: \"HALO,\" a mysterious and massive ring/space station orbiting a foreign world. As the game progresses, the player discovers an enemy even worse than the covenant: It would seem that while the covenant was attempting to activate halo, they inadvertently released \"the flood,\" a vicious alien life form that survives by taking over the body of an organic host and then spreading to the next victim. Once released, \"the flood\" immediately begins possessing the covenant and humans alike, and the player realizes \"the flood\" must be stopped to prevent the destruction of the entire galaxy.

Is it any good?

As first-person-shooter games go, HALO was inventive for its time, and even now, it's a graphically appealing game. The game has an interesting and mysterious story, and allows the player to pilot and drive cool vehicles, and be immersed in a massive battle around a foreign planet. But the game has the same pitfall as many other first-person-shooter games: Ninety-five percent of the game is simply shooting things that get in your way.

The game tells a very dark tale, and most of the game consists of one continuous battle with plenty of blood, screams of agony and explosions. HALO is a first-person, shoot-everything-that-moves type of game. The action is infectious, and the story, while somewhat typical, is well-written and interesting. Plenty of bloodshed and a storyline that will most definitely scare younger players relegates this game to the 16+ crowd of gamers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why this game has become one of -- if not the most -- popular action game franchises of this generation. Is the sci-fi story so much better than other games? Does the level of violence make a game like this more immersive than its competitors? Is blood necessary in a 3-D shooter or is falling down enough to confirm the enemy is dead?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $25
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Microsoft
  • Release date: May 30, 2003
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter
  • ESRB rating: M
  • Last updated: August 25, 2016

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